Today you can have a website for pretty much anything—from crowdfunding campaigns to pet hamster fan pages. But for some reason, an estimated 30-40% of small businesses have been slow to get online. What gives?
In surveys, many business owners say they don’t have the skills, the time, or the money to build a website. But a surprising number say that they don’t need a website in the first place, either because it’s not required or because they use social media instead.
That idea is changing quickly though, especially as coronavirus makes in-person business more difficult. According to one survey, 29% of small businesses plan to use a website for the first time in 2020. Are you among them?
We’ve put together some specific reasons why your small business should have its own website. If you’re a small business owner who is still on the fence, read on!
Customers now expect businesses to have websites
Now more than ever, customers want to be able to find information about you from your company website. Most consumers do research online before they make a purchase, even if it’s to buy something from their local shop. If you don’t have a website, it sends a message that your business is stuck in the Dark Ages, that you’re not open anymore, or that you’re not interested in finding new customers—and those are certainly not messages you want to send!
You can control information and branding
User reviews and comments on other websites are great, but shouldn’t you have the final say about how your company is presented to the public? Having a website for your company instantly creates an official presence on the internet, so that you don’t have to depend on others speaking for you. And you can make it look exactly the way you want, with your own logo and company branding.
A website makes you look more reputable and trustworthy
Consumers are learning to be pretty savvy when they research online. In fact, 75% will judge your credibility based on your website design. That’s why it’s so important to have a modern, up-to-date website with a custom domain and other markers of trustworthiness. A website also shows that you are open for business during a time when there is a lot of uncertainty.
You can sell products online
Online sales were on the rise even before COVID-19 kept everyone stuck at home. And these trends are expected to continue after businesses reopen to customers. So even if you don’t think of yourself as an “ecommerce” business, you can still use an online store to benefit your offline business. It can help supplement your income when you’re closed in-person, and also attract new customers who will now be able to find your services and products via Google and other search engines.
And, if you don’t want to deal with the headache of shipping, you can use Jimdo’s local pickup option so that customers can buy your products online and pick them up curbside or in-person.
A website is more affordable than traditional advertising
Many small businesses who don’t have a website still rely on Yellow Page ads or traditional advertising to get their name out there. But is purchasing an ad in ever-shrinking and increasingly expensive directory the best use of funds, especially if you’re trying to cut business costs? Websites cost much less than they have in the past and give you a wider reach than regular advertising.
A website is easier to keep up to date
If you tried starting a website years ago, you might have some bad memories from the experience. It probably took weeks for a developer to build, and then you couldn’t make any changes yourself. Simple things like updating store hours could take forever, so your information was outdated.
Today, it couldn’t be more different. With Jimdo, all you need to do is log in to your website and click on the part you’d like to change. You’ll be able to edit text, add photos, or change parts of your design. When you use Jimdo Business Listings, you can update the info on your website once, and it will automatically update it across multiple listing platforms like Facebook, Google, and more.
You can find new local customers near you
A website isn’t just for finding customers across the globe—it’s an essential tool for attracting local customers too. Almost half (46%) of all Google searches are people looking for something right near them. That’s especially true of mobile phone users who might be looking for a store, restaurant, or other service while they’re on-the-go. If you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on an opportunity to catch those visitors when they’re right in your neighborhood.
Does my business need a website if I’m on social media?
Maybe you already have a Facebook page and some pretty good reviews on social media. Lots of business owners assume that a social media profile for their business is enough.
But there are some problems with this strategy. First, you’ll always be dependent on the social media platform you choose. Algorithms change, rules change, and what’s working one day might not work a few weeks from now (as many businesses who depended on Facebook have recently learned).
If you have a website, it belongs to you, and you control the content and the message. Part of the reason you started your own business is so that you don’t have to follow other people’s rules—so why would you just do what a social media platform tells you to?
Trends change, too. If your customers are on Instagram today, they might be on a new platform tomorrow. As people switch from one tool to the next, your website acts as an anchor. No matter what social media service customers prefer, they can always find your website in the same place, available to everyone.
Conclusion: every business needs a website
The case for having a website in today’s world is very strong. Almost all the businesses surveyed said they planned to have a website by the end of the year. Are you part of this group? Make it a reality by signing up for a free Jimdo website today, and see how easy it is!